Reliance Part of Modi Govt’s ‘New Formula’: What Hollande Told AFP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with French President Francois Hollande. 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with French President Francois Hollande. (Photo: IANS) 

Reliance Part of Modi Govt’s ‘New Formula’: What Hollande Told AFP

(This article has been updated to reflect former French President Francois Hollande’s full statement to news agency AFP.)

On Friday, 21 September, several Indian news websites, including The Quint, published former French President Francois Hollande’s statement to news agency Agence-France Press (AFP), in which it seemed he was “unaware” whether India had put pressure on Reliance and Dassault to work together. In the same statement, he seemed to have told AFP that "only Dassault can comment on this."

However, as it turns out, that wasn’t Hollande’s full statement on what he told AFP on the Modi government’s hand in orchestrating the Reliance-Dassault tie-up in the Rafale deal.

Hollande actually reaffirmed his statement that the Modi government had proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance as a partner for Dassault.

Also Read : Rafale Deal: Rahul Hits Back at Jaitley, Says Order JPC Probe 

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What Hollande Actually Told AFP

To clear up all doubts, here’s the actual statement made by Hollande to AFP, that was later published in Le Monde, and reported by Scroll:

“Asked by AFP on the sidelines of a conference in Montreal on Friday, Hollande said that the name of Reliance Group had appeared as part of a ‘new formula’ in negotiations over the Rafale deal, decided by the Modi government after it came to power.”
“Asked if he knew whether India put pressure for the Reliance Group to work with Dassault, Hollande said that he was ‘unaware’ and ‘Dassault alone is capable of answering’ he added, anxious to not intervene in the Indian controversy.”

This statement made by Hollande, that the Ambani-led Reliance Group was part of a “new formula” for the Rafale deal that was put forth by the Modi government, alone appears contradictory to the government’s claim that it had nothing to do with Dassault’s decision to go with Reliance.

Also Read : Rafale Deal: Mediapart Journalists On How They Broke The News

While the second part of Hollande’s statement, also quoted by the news agencies on Friday, where he said he was “unaware” whether India put pressure for the Reliance Group to work with Dassault, neither confirms nor denies the same allegation, it suggests two things:

  • That his government did not have any role to play in choosing Reliance as Dassault’s proposed partner in the Rafale deal
  • That it was the Modi government which put forth Reliance’s name as part of its “new” and “official” formula

This is important, because the government has not denied putting forward Anil Ambani’s Reliance as a proposed partner, Scroll reported.

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